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Special Economic Zone (SEZ) project Launched | Coastweek

ELDORET (Xinhua) -- Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto (2nd R, front), Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Kenya Yao Ming (1st L, front) and other guests unveil a commemorative plaque at the launching ceremony of the Special Economic Zone project in Eldoret, Kenya, on July 7, 2017. Kenya on Friday launched a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) project that is expected to attract about 2 billion U.S. dollars of foreign investments. The project is a joint venture between Kenyan-based company Africa Economic Zone and China’s Guangdong New South Group. XINHUA PHOTO: PAN SIWEI
Kenya launches special economic zone project

By Ronald Njoroge ELDORET (Xinhua) -- Kenya on Friday launched a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) project that is expected to attract about 2 billion U.S. dollars of foreign investments.

At the ground-breaking ceremony, Deputy President William Ruto said the project is a joint venture between Kenyan-based company Africa Economic Zone and China’s Guangdong New South Group.

Its Phase 1 consists of a 700-acre industrial park that will house firms from agro-processing, chemical and constructing sectors, according to Ruto.

The Phase 2 will target technology firms, while Phase 3 will focus on the hospitality sector. The project was made possible after the signing of an agreement between the Kenyan and Chinese firms in China during the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) for International Cooperation.

Ruto said the project will enable Kenyan industrialists to benefit from the vast manufacturing experience that China has accumulated over the past 30 years.

He said that the Kenyan government has been considering establishing the SEZs for the past 15 years, but the facilities can now be licensed in the country following the enactment of the SEZ act in September 2015.

“Less than two years later after the law was passed, Kenya has been able to license the first private SEZ,” he said.

The SEZ law lays the development framework that outlines the special tax incentives for industries that set up shop in the zones.

The deputy president noted that developed nations have utilized SEZs to improve the living standards of their citizens.

“We also intend to use the zones to expand job creation and wealth creation opportunities especially among the youth,” he added. 

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Africa advised to use economic zones to attract Chinese investment 

By Ronald Njoroge ELDORET (Xinhua) -- Africa can attract more Chinese investment by rolling out more Special Economic Zones (SEZs), a Chinese investor has suggested.

Zhu Layi, president of the Guangdong New South Group, told Xinhua in Kenya that the economic zones offer a lot of tax and infrastructural incentives that are very appealing to Chinese investors seeking to set up business in Africa.

“SEZs are a very good model to push for Chinese industries to establish manufacturing plants in African countries,” Zhu said.

Kenya on Friday launched a SEZ project, a joint venture between Kenyan-based company Africa Economic Zone and Guangdong New South. It is expected to attract about 2 billion U.S. dollars of foreign investments for Kenya.

Kenyan experts have said the SEZs are expected to aid in doubling the current manufacturing sector jobs to approximately 1 million, adding year-on-year 2-3 billion U.S. dollars to Kenya’s GDP in the next decade.

Zhu noted that SEZs are ideal as they tackle the numerous hurdles that enterprises face while operating in Africa.

“They improve the business environment in the manufacturing sector and hence are likely to become magnets for Chinese investors seeking opportunities in Africa,” he said.

Moreover, Zhu said Africa can fully exploit SEZ to attract Chinese firms that are seeking to relocate overseas due to rising labor costs at home.

“In addition, SEZs can help to spur transfer of Chinese industrial technology into Africa,” the company president said.

The rapid industrialization witnessed in China over the past 30 years has been partly attributed to the effective use of SEZs.

“China has used SEZs to catalyze the growth of industries and achieve global manufacturing competitiveness,” Zhu said.

Guangdong New South Group currently operates SEZs in Nigeria and plans to establish new facilities in Kenya in collaboration with local partners.

Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are designated areas where businesses enjoy tax benefits and other favorable policies.

By creating an SEZ, Kenya has hoped to increase its export volume, diversify the range of exports currently dominated by agriculture produce, expand job creation and facilitate tech transfers.

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